Special Kids’ Worlds Open Through Mobile Apps
By John Hartford
Mobile communications technology for use by children with disabilities is exploding. New applications for children with movement, speech, hearing and visual challenges seem to appear daily on the market. As a result of these new technologies, new worlds are opening for these children. These devices and apps are providing children who experience movement and communication challenges with incredible tools for academics, communication and socialization
Most of these applications run on iPads or iPhones, although they also are available for other tablets and smart phones. Some encourage wrist and finger movements to help develop small motor skills; others make it possible for young children with speech challenges to communicate through the use of pictures. Word and picture-to-sound applications give voice to older children and open up social interaction. Already in use by many schools and therapists, applications to assist children in cognitive skills building abound.
Most of these applications are fairly inexpensive. But you’ll need a device like an iPad, which costs about $500 new, to get started. While sifting through the many available applications can be frustrating, especially if you’re a “newbie” to the technology scene, there are a number of helpful websites that offer reviews and video demonstrations to help you choose. Here are some of the best:
Momswithapps – This first-rate site run by moms includes a section on apps for special needs. The moms work with software developers to fine-tune their products and encourage parents to give them feedback to make products better.
Apple Special Education – The special education section of Apple’s website lists 72 applications for the iPhone and 13 applications for the iPad in 10 categories ranging from communication to emotional development and life skills
About.com Apps for People with Special Needs – This site offers reviews from parents and users of applications for iPads and iPhones.
Apps for Children with Special Needs – This site provides videos of many applications, allowing parents to see how they work before buying. It also offers an extensive list of free applications.
Babies with iPads – Focuses on infants and toddlers with developmental delays and how technology can help build basic skills. A recent article lists a therapist’s top 10 applications for children with cortical vision impairment.
The Friendship Circle – Offers a wealth of resources for special needs community, including a list of applications for Android devices.
Of course one of the best ways to choose an application is to ask your child’s therapists and teachers what they recommend. But no matter what you choose, today’s mobile software applications are making it possible for children with cerebral palsy to interact with their world better than ever before.For more information please visit: